"It's a great day for Auburn football today. I really feel very good about the recruiting class that we just assembled. Starting out, the bottom line is you always look for what your needs are. We feel like we're looking for the right fit, we're looking for the right guy, and we don't care about the stars and what they're ranked and what they're rated. We're just looking for the right fit at Auburn, and that's what we feel the best about today.
"As we close out this day and move forward to the next year, we feel like we scratched all the right itches. We start with our offensive and defensive lines, which was a huge part of the puzzle for us to fill the needs at those positions. I feel like we did a great job at that.
Auburn signed Scout.com five-star quarterback on Wednesday.
"I feel like quarterback was obviously another huge part of the puzzle for us, certainly with Cam (Newton) leaving early, and I feel like our secondary was a part of our football team that we needed to address, as well. Not that there weren't other positions out there that we needed to recruit, as well, but as we know in this league, offensive and defensive lines are where it all starts.
"We feel good about it and I have to give a lot of credit to our staff. They went out and got after it. You get a little bit behind sometimes when you play in two championship games where there are other people that can go on the road and recruit while you're practicing and preparing for some of those games, but I'll take the trade off every time. We really got after it. I'm really proud of our assistants who went on the road and worked day and night to bring in this class, and my hat's off to them.
We're just happy for the Auburn Football Family today because we really believe that this is another brick in the foundation of what we're trying to build. We're still not there yet, we are definitely not there, we have not arrived by any stretch of the imagination, but we do feel like this is going to put us in the right direction of where we would like this program to head as we move down the road."
(On defensive tackle Gabe Wright)
"Gabe Wright is a guy that we have targeted for so many years, really since we got here. He was probably one of the first priorities that we had when he was a young player. We knew about him, he had come over to our camps, he had come over and visited, and that was a huge part of our puzzle defensively. We feel like he was the best defensive tackle in the country and he was a major target for us. He was a guy that was very highly sought after, and rightly so. We feel like we developed a great relationship with him. Things can get confusing down at the end, but I feel like in his heart of hearts, he was Auburn through and through. I feel like he's going to come in here and be one of those guys that has an opportunity to have an impact immediately, and we told him that.
"We just want him to come in and be Gabe Wright and continue to improve and be a better football player every year, which he really has a chance to, in my opinion, be a very good player in this league. That was a huge get for us, and we're excited to have him and his family on board."
(On Auburn's secondary signees)
"I couldn't be more excited. We have Erique Florence from this state. He is a huge get. Just a tremendous athlete, a great student, just one heck of a football player. He can play so many different positions like he did in high school, but obviously we think he's going to be a great safety for what we're trying to do. I think he brings a great speed element back there. He loves contact. I think he's going to be really good at that.
"We have Jonathan Rose at one corner. He's already enrolled, and we're thrilled to death. Another young man from Alabama, and we feel like he was the best corner in the state. It's really big to have him on board here with us right now. Robensen Therezie from Miami. He's really a dual guy, can play safety or corner. That's what we really love about him. He has flexibility in his game and what he brings to the table. He's just a phenomenal young man. He played some tailback in high school. Again, just a great young man.
"Then Jermaine Whitehead, that was one that we're really excited about. This is a great player out of Mississippi that has the ability to play probably numerous amounts of things, but we want him playing at corner. He's another guy that in high school had his hands on the football a lot, so he was a very good and exciting football player offensively, as well.
"Our idea is, even in the secondary, the more they have their hands on the ball and the more they touch the ball and they're used to doing that, then I think you build in the ability back there to get turnovers and make interceptions and things of that nature. He has great speed, good size, and we're extremely excited about the whole secondary. That's one of the parts that we really wanted to stress."
(On the three players in the class who are listed on the roster as athletes)
"One of them is Quan Bray. Quan is one of the most exciting players in Georgia, and he can do it all. In our offense, he will be a guy that you are really going to have to find out where he is to know what we are doing with him. He has the ability to play wildcat, he has the ability to play tailback, and he has the ability to play wide receiver. There are so many things you can do with him. He just loves having his hands on the ball. He's exciting, he's electric with his hands on the football, and he's going to play on the offensive side of the ball.
"You have Kris Frost, who is really a very unique individual out of North Carolina. He's played wide receiver and he's played linebacker, and he's very good at both, so we are going to kind of tinker with that a little bit when he gets here and find out ultimately what his final destination is going to be. We just know that he is a great player and that's one of the guys we'll kind of figure it out as he gets here, but we knew we had to have him here at Auburn.
"Then C.J. Uzomah is a really great story out of Georgia, North Gwinnett (High School). He's a young man that has played quarterback, and he's played wide receiver. For us in our offense right now, he could be a wide receiver, he could be a quarterback if we needed him to be, he could be a tight end-type guy and use him for those types of duties. He's a big kid, very athletic. I just think it's a unique blend for him, both size and speed, that allows you to do a lot of different things with him."
(On Kris Frost's recruitment)
"I'm not going to get into a whole lot of detail, because obviously the ultimate deal was that he is here at Auburn and that's what we wanted. We just had to make sure that we were all on the same page. When we recruit a young man, we want to make sure that he and his family, myself and the rest of the coaching staff, are all on the same page from top to bottom. That's what we wanted to make sure of and obviously at the end of the day, that's where we were. The family is excited, Kris is excited, Auburn and the Auburn Family are excited about it, and he was just a great signee for us. Not only just a great football player, again, a great young man. He has it all."
(On the offensive line class and the potential for those guys to play early.)
"One of the things as we targeted these different young men on our offensive line was we felt like we had to really do a great job of evaluating, not just are they really, really good high school players, but what is the opportunity or what is the probability that they can come in and play young? That was one of the biggest criteria as we looked at them. We were trying to not necessarily bring a guy in that we felt like three years from now could help us. We feel like every one of these guys have the ability, depending on how fast they learn, to come in here and help us immediately. That was the idea on every offensive lineman we brought in.
Reese Dismukes is a great sign out of Spanish Fort here in the state. He has a great chance to come in and compete for a job right now. He's already in school and he's doing that.
"Thomas O'Reilly, the same thing. He has a great chance to come in and compete for a job and do that. So they are both here.
"Christian Westerman, I can't say enough about his family, just the recruitment process of him and the ability we think he has and what he brings to the table and the opportunity to come in here and help us right now. This young man on film now, he is dynamite. It's just going to be how fast he can get used to the college game.
"Greg Robinson is just another unbelievable athlete, great size, and great athletic ability. Guys like that, we think have a chance to come in and help us right now, so we feel really good about that position."
(On the potential of more of this year's freshman class contributing early like last year's class)
"Yes, no question. I think we are to the point now where I just feel really good about how we are kind of building the roster. Our roster management, I think we have done a nice job with that. A lot of these guys right now, again, as we recruited them, there are still phenomenal opportunities to come in at Auburn and play young. We've only played two seasons here. We know that the senior class that we just lost was extremely large, which is exactly the way you want it. Again, it creates opportunities for young guys to come in and play while they are young.
"Some of these guys are definitely going to have to do that, whether that is special team roles, the guys last year that kind of played in that moved to the next phase, or whether they come in and literally help offensively or defensively. There is a good amount of guys on this signing list right now that we are going to have to count on to come in and play."
(On 2010 Auburn football Shon Coleman, who is enrolled in Auburn in January as he continues to recover from cancer)
"We are going to wait. Medically, we have great people that are paying a lot of close attention to that. We are just going to let time go by and just kind of see how he progresses. There's no rush for anything. He's doing great, he looks great. He's doing well in school and that's our main concern right now. Our main concern is that he is healthy as a human being, and then whatever happens football-wise, that's all icing on the cake, if and when that happens."
Is Coleman on scholarship? "Yes."
(Does Coleman count on this class?) "There is a medical issue in there with how we are handling that because technically he's a medical hardship right now."
(On the recruiting rankings and being a competitive recruiting team.)
"I'm happy for our fans. I'm just happy for the Auburn Family. One of the great things about having a coaching staff that you've been able to keep together for three years is that it allows you to have the ability to go out and recruit these types of classes. Whether these classes are ranked one, or three or five, I don't know all that, but I know that they are needed. My hat is off to all those nine guys on the road that were just relentless to get what we needed. We won't know what these classes are for years to come, but I will say that I'm happy, not because someone ranked us one, or three, or five, but because we got what we felt like we needed."
(On how winning the National Championships affects recruiting,)
"I think it helped with some guys. I think that at the end of the day, we're hoping that propels itself into next year's class, because we have so many guys at that point in time that had already been committed, either publicly or behind the scenes. There were some that were maybe influenced at the end by the publicity and everything that came with it. It certainly helped a little bit, but by that point in time, there were so many commitments already made."
(On the running back position)
"I'm really excited about Tre Mason. He's a young guy that we brought in and really started recruiting in the beginning of the season. He played in a very tough league down in Florida. His sophomore year he rushed for around 1500 yards, junior year around 1400, and senior year somewhere around 1600 yards. With Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb back there, he was a great mix for what we are trying to do there. He's a very good fit. At the end of the day, he's going to be a 200-plus pound running back. He has great vision and he makes great cuts. He's a natural, and I think our offense will be able to do various things with him. He's a great fit for what we're looking for."
(On possibly having early playing time at the running back position)
"I think one of things that we do a really good job at is figuring out a fit for those guys when they come in, and not only just a fit, but how we're going to work them in. When Tre comes in, we're going to figure out what he can and can't do. How fast he learns it will dictate how fast he sees the playing field. We're going to expect him to come in and play. A lot of people do it the other way around, but we expect people to come in and play."
(On the defensive line signees)
"Devaunte Sigler from Mobile is a great defensive lineman. He's a little under the radar, but we really think he's going to be a big physical presence. He's about 6-4, 255 pounds. He has a very quick first step. He could grow into an inside defensive lineman. Same thing with Jabrian Niles, another great kid from Alabama. He's very athletic. Believe it or not, he used to be a quarterback and grew himself into a 270-pound defensive lineman. Angelo Blackson is a 307-pound young man, and when you watch him on film, it would shock you. All of these guys have a lot of room for development. We think they all have huge upsides. They all have a chance to come in and play. There is no question about that. <> "Another Alabama young man, Keymiya Harrell, is around 6-4, 235 pounds, and a great athlete when you watch him play basketball. He's also a little under the radar, and we like that. I feel really good about all those guys."
(On QB Kiehl Frazier)
"He is one of the heart and souls of this class. I told him today on the phone how much I appreciate him. He's never once wavered or thought about anything else except helping recruit a great class. He has been our number one guy that has gone out and talked to all the other kids about coming to Auburn. He has been Auburn through and through since the day he committed and done it from a hard position in Arkansas.
"Leaving his home state is hard to do. He's been great and we think he's going to be a tremendous addition. He's been involved with an offense that's similar to the one we play here. That's going to be a huge advantage for him. It's great to have him and his family on board. We couldn't be more proud of him."